NBA Heat Check: Phoenix Suns

John Scriffiny

What’s the weather like: Freezing temperatures with a chance of storms

The Suns are having a season from well, hell. After spending big this offseason on aging big man Tyson Chandler in an attempt to secure Lamarcus Aldridge, the Suns thought this would be a watershed year, hopefully leading to a playoff berth.

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Phoenix mortgaged a lot of their future for quite a few of their players. They traded a Lakers pick that has the chance to be in the top 5 of the draft lottery for Brandon Knight, who is a good player, but not necessarily a player that will take a franchise to the next level. Chandler hasn’t impressed, and seems to be on the downhill portion of his career. The Suns gave Isaiah Thomas, a great offensive player, to the Celtics and got practically nothing in return. They gave up Goran Dragic, an All-NBA level player at his best, and all they got in return was a 2017 first round pick who doesn’t look to be very valuable. The 2021 pick could be interesting, as it is unprotected, but Miami is Miami, and the free agents could be enough to keep the Heat afloat, even if Dwyane Wade retires or if Chris Bosh is not the player he is today (although as a shooting big man, his game will probably age well).

It is one thing for the Suns to mortgage their future, it is another for them to mortgage and fail miserably, which is what is happening now. They traded Marcus Morris, and his twin, Markieff, was not happy, subsequently being benched. Their coach, Jeff Hornacek, who was in the running for coach of the year two years ago, can’t seem to find a lineup that has much flow or balance. He either plays a lineup with defensive specialists at the wing who are offensively limited, or he plays a lineup that has all offense, no defense.

As professional sports gambler, Haralabos Voulgaris tweets, “(Ronnie) Price and (PJ) Tucker are -15 per 100 possessions… Can’t play those 2 together.”

These two non-shooters (bad from the three-point range) are getting outscored by 15 points every 100 possessions. Hornacek does this with many lineups, trying to force them on their opponent despite their lack of success.

How to weather the storm: Fire Jeff Hornacek. He doesn’t understand how to make this team flow. Not many coaches do, but it is safe to say Hornacek doesn’t.

Trade Markieff Morris to the Nets or Pistons. He means more to them than he does to the Suns, and with the Pistons he could be reunited with his twin, and the Nets offer a fresh start, plenty of playing time and no pressure.

There is no easy way to fix this team, but I believe this would be a good start. Until next time.

Collegian Sports Blogger John Scriffiny can be reached online at blogs@collegian.com or on Twitter at @JScriff.